What real estate slump?

Yes, housing starts are dismal along with virtually every other economic indicator. But, I believe I know a way to improve that, at least in housing starts. This is just a beginning , mind you but it  seems to have lots of potential.

I read a blurb in Sports Illustrated the other day about Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Mr Howard is by any estimation a baseball star and plays for what is probably the best team in baseball. For that he is well compensated. For purposes of this post, I make no comment about what Howard makes, except to say that it is enough to afford a nice home.

Mr Howard has plans in place to have a home constructed in the Tampa area that has  an estimated completion date of sometime in 2014. With a cost estimate of $23 million, that should be no surprise. The only catch is that the regs in that area require a maximum construction time of 24 months which has required  a bit of negotiation with local officials. While they are involved in that, they should not miss a great opportunity to boost the housing starts there and maybe even start a nationwide trend.

Here is my suggestion. Divide the  estimated construction cost by ten and voila , you have 10 housing starts. Numbers look better which is  really all that matters anyway, right? Besides an expensive home should count for more than a less expensive one. And the trend catches on, before you know it there is  a housing “boom” that inspires confidence and inspires companies to hire, consumers to spend etc. Bet the Obama Administration would love this plan. No need for thanks, just trying to do my part.


August 6, 2011 Posted by | economy | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Generals and the President

Now that the White House has traded Gen Stanley McChrystal for Gen David Petraeus ( formerly known by liberal Democrats as Betray us, compliments of Moveon.org ) what does it all mean?  Oh and other assorted and sundry Democrats  named Reid and Clinton chimed in with their unflattering comments  as well.

First of all, Obama had to fire McChrystal. I believed that even before I heard it from Glenn Beck or my informal survey of several retired military friends. It brings to mind, just a little, mind you, of Truman  firing McArthur. But no Obama has not risen to Truman’s level with the firing even though Wolf Blitzer says that now he is the commander-in-chief. No, Wolf, he held that title from day one of his inauguration. now if you mean he finally acted like the commander-in-chief, you would be much more accurate.

There are many interesting things about this action, some of which will not materialize until some  time  has passed. Just a few. Petraeus actually is replacing a guy who reported to him in his role as CentCom Commander. So, does that not leave us  a general short?  Petraeus cannot do justice to the job in Afghanistan and run CentCom  at the same time. ( Imagine moving from Tampa to Kandahar?) So, one would think that someone needs to be promoted, right?

Ok, next up, why in the world did a four star general even agree to an interview with Rolling Stone magazine? You have to figure that nothing good will come from it and possibly something very, very bad. And so it did. That would be like, oh I don’t know, say  a Rush Limbaugh interviewing with them only worse. So, an obviously smart and capable military man does this for what reason? At some point, when things have settled down, I hope that he is forthcoming with his reasons.

Finally, was it just 2-3 years ago when Senators Obama and Biden at different times and in different public settings blasted Gen Petraeus for his lack of competency in Iraq?  Indeed it was, Obama at a Senate hearing in which he gave the general no time to respond and Biden in an interview with Tim Russert.

If you are Obama, would it not be a nightmarish scenario to have McChrystal make the  rounds of the talk shows or maybe even write a book? Can you say, bete noir? After all, McArthur had his triumphant parade in New York City.

June 25, 2010 Posted by | military, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Money Well-Spent or Just Spent?

Just a few days ago, some 10 people affiliated with our local school system attended a conference in Tampa,Fl sponsored by the  Schlechty Center, based in Louisville,Ky. This is at least the second trip to a Schlechty conference, as a delegation went to Albuquerque,NM  last year. Final numbers are not available but the costs will  exceed $14,000 since the  registration fee alone was $1,400 per person according to a Daily Advance article by Kristin Pitts.

Finances are tight in our local system as they are in most school districts. So, how does one justify the costs incurred on this trip? Of those who attended, four were school board members( out of six total members) , 2 were elementary school principals and four were  administrators, including the superintendent and assistant superintendent.

Frankly, I do not know, although I would like to give the attendees the benefit of the doubt. Only one of those attending was available for comment and he acknowledged that  cost was an issue. But, he added, if you talked to any who attended this year or last they would say that the conferences were beneficial. That may be true but one wonders no one else could be reached for comment.Don’t you just hate it when that happens? Nine people, several of them school system employees and they could not be reached? Amazing!

Throw this comment in from a member who went to New Mexico last year but not to Tampa this year. Quoting from the Daily Advance, Board member Bill Luton said that last year’s conference stressed transparency and the value of listening to the public.  Maybe the transparency part did not sink in so well. A quote from Luton stated,” I can certainly understand why in this economic climate people might be at least concerned about expenditures.” Ya think?

As some of the online comments said, if the system were flush with money, costs would not be an issue. But the system is not flush, the teachers are in a constant struggle for needed supplies and costs are an issue.

When public money is spent, accountability is of the utmost importance and oh yes, transparency. Maybe next year when conference time  rolls around, the entourage could be  a bit smaller?

Any conferences any closer to home?

March 21, 2010 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cell Phones Run Amok

What I shall relate in this post concerns 2 events that probably have very little in common, at least on the surface. But, upon further examination, ahh, that is another story indeed. These events involve St Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, arguably one of the greatest mangers in the game’s history and Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, D, Tx.

We will begin with Mr Larussa. I was performing part of my morning ritual a day or so ago by watching ESPN to catch up on important stuff. Sports Center replays part of a post game news conference of Larussa’s. I guess this was at the beginning of  the session when his cell phone rings. He stops to answer and begins to carry on a  somewhat involved conversation of a moment or two, all while reporters and cameras are impatiently( I guess ) waiting. He calmly finishes the call, no rush at all. He then explains that it was a visiting relative from Tampa that he seldom sees and he was gonna take the call-period. The ESPN anchors were, astonishingly, almost speechless after showing the clip.

Event #2 was  a bit more serious. It took place at a town hall meeting hosted by Ms Jackson-Lee. In the midst of a person’s question, the Congresswoman’s cell phone rings. She takes the call, walks away from the mike and calmly finishes the call. Again, their is a perplexed questioner, an audience and cameras This time no explanation is given.

But , one brave soul, CNN’S  Rick Sanchez, tried in vain, in fact, tried repeatedly to have her explain her behavior, She ducked and dodged the question, somewhat adroitly for  a time. Finally, she said the video must have been doctored even though she also said she knew nothing about the video. Huh and double huh? Great article on Matthew Bolan’s NewsBusters Blog, complete with a You Tube video link. She basically seems to answer his question about her rudeness  to the questioner by being rude to him.

Well, I think I may have an answer for these some what bizarre actions. Their cell phones were out of control. They somehow went on autopilot and refused to be silenced. Or, they must and shall be answered. An example of how one day, cell phones will rule the world!

Wouldn’t you just love to know, in both instances, who was on the other line.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Media, Politics, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments